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Israel postpones release of 26 Palestinian prisoners

March 28, 2014, 12:57 UTC+3

Israel delays the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners for an unspecified time because of lack of progress in the peace negotiations

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TEL AVIV, March 28. /ITAR-TASS/. Israel has postponed for an unspecified time the release of another batch of 26 Palestinian prisoners because of lack of progress in the peace negotiations, Jerusalem Post newspaper reported.

In compliance with July’s agreement on renewing direct talks between Israel and Palestine on conflict settlement, brokered by US State Secretary John Kerry, Israel committed itself to releasing 104 Palestinian prisoners. Seventy-eight prisoners have already been released. The last group of prisoners was to be released on March 29.

Jerusalem Post noted that the names must be made public 48 hours prior to the prisoners’ release in order to allow appeals to the High Court of Justice against the move.

The final decision about the release of the prisoners was supposed to be made on Wednesday at the five-minister committee meeting. The committee is chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The meeting was not held, and no date for convening the committee was announced.

Israeli officials refuse to comment on the matter, citing only Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the delegation for the talks with Palestinians. There was never an “automatic commitment to release prisoners unrelated to making progress in negotiations,” Livni said.

The deadline for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks expires at the end of April. 

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